Hello.  I am an actor.

So, we're probably heading towards opening night and we need your biography.  Here are some guidelines to help you construct a good biography for our use.  Please note the formatting specifications to help us achieve consistency across all production programmes, websites and digital media.

format

You are welcome to use any font and submit your biography via body copy or in Word document, but please adhere to the following guidelines:

1.  When writing the NAME OF A SHOW, please use CAPS.

2.  When quoting the Character that you played in a show, please use Italics.

e.g.  Jaco played the role of Mr. Mistoffelees in CATS.

or

e.g.  ... such as CATS (Mr. Mistoffelees), JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR (Simon Zealotes) and ...

Some tips for writing a good bio

A bio is a summary of the highlights of your career - your training, credits, and something about you personally, i.e. what you do when you are not acting.  It tells the industry in sentence form - unlike the columns in your résumé or CV - what roles you can play and how to cast you.

Here are some guidelines for writing the best bio possible.

1.  Make it short and sweet.


Being direct in your bio is better than flowery or overly imaginative language.  Less is more.  Audience members are more likely to read short and sweet bios.

2.  Write it in the third person.


This is not an autobiography, it's a bio. Use subjects like - she, he, your name (Gwyn), your professional address (Mrs. Gilliss), etc.

 

3.  Avoid the cloying justification.


For example, “I knew I wanted to be an actor at age 5 when I saw a magical production of ‘Peter Pan.’ ” Tell us what you’ve done not why you do what you do.

4. Don’t make lists.


Describe or elaborate your skills, training, and experience in sentence form.  And try to keep it interesting.

 

5. Include personal experiences and special skills.


Put these in the last paragraph.  These skills might help you get a next job.  For example, you could write, “Fluent in French and Italian, Gwyn studied cooking at the Cordon Bleu in Marseille, and painting in Florence,” or “An advanced Yogini, she teaches yoga and meditation,” or “As a pop singer, her new CD with original music and lyrics is coming out soon.”

 

6. Write in “pyramid” style.


Put the most important information at the top, working down to the less critical info by the fourth and final paragraph.  Your bio does not need to list productions chronologically, rather in order of importance to you.  We also don't need any dates in your bio, i.e. 'in 2012 she played the role of...'.

7.  Don't make it boring!

Facts and lists are (unfortunately) boring.  Telling a story is not.  Use your bio to tell us your story!  Research other biographies and see which ones you are drawn to.  What is the reason?  We bet they're short, tell a story and are not laboured with dates and facts. 

Here are some examples of potential opening statements.  If they read no further, this will be what they remember about you:

Weak example: A sunny blonde, Gwyn hails from the Midwest and is happy to be in the Big Apple.

Strong example: Classically trained, Gwyn has played roles from Shakespeare to Tennessee Williams, working in major American repertory theaters, On- and Off-Broadway, as well as in dozens of contract and recurring roles for daytime and primetime TV.

Here is how the four paragraphs in your bio could be structured.

Paragraph 1: Recent roles and strongest credits


Theater and other performance credits.  Biggest or best roles.  Try to use recognizable plays and roles, not just “showcases.”  If you're just starting our, name your student credits.

Paragraph 2: Training


Don’t be afraid to name drop master teachers or prestigious drama schools, as well as directors you’ve studied with.  If you’ve worked with “greats,” they will assume you will be great! 

Paragraph 3: Awards and Recognitions


Sure, not everyone has won a legitimate award, but if you have been nominated for extraordinary work, name that here.

Paragraph 4: Personal life


Here, write about your interests, skills, travel, languages, or musical instruments - anything that makes you memorable.  Elaborate -  don’t just list.  Tell the story...

Here are some examples of closing statements. You want to leave the audience with a powerful professional memory of you.

Weak example: “I want to thank my cat, my roommate Diana, and my Mom for believing in me.” (This gives the impression that you’re still a beginner. Save the gratitude for your acceptance speech at the Tony Awards).

Strong example: “Looking forward to working on a big touring musical production or to be featured as Trevor Noah's guest!” (Industry professionals will remember you as an actor who knows where you’re going!)

Remember:  DONT BE BORING OR PREDICTABLE!

 

We look forward to reading your exciting biographies!